I was just a kid at the time. I was surprised the fans in Vancouver booed the hell outta Team Canada, but then not really. Surprised: Because as horrid as your Vancouver Canucks were for their first two years, one heard nary a boo outta the crowd during Nuck games. Not surprised: Because I attended almost all the BC Lions games in those days when major booing was the norm. See in '71 fans at Empire Stadium would boo Paul Brothers RIGHT OFF THE FIELD and cheer when he was replaced by Don Moorhead. And then vice-versa in other games. They were frustrated, the Lions had been stinking for years. When the Summit Series was happening in '72 the CFL season was half done, the Lions were something like 1-7, and the Boo Birds were howling at old Empire. Not surprised: Because my dear ole dad (lord of the Boo Birds) (RIP) was in attendance for Summit Series Game 4.
I used to get seriously pissed off at the Boo Birds at BC Lions games, especially at Pops. But when he got enough Crown Royal in him (every single game) (micky in his boot) he wasn't gonna listen to anyone, ESPECIALLY not some punk ass kid.
I was shocked at first when Vancouver fans...BOOED TEAM CANADA IN THE WARMUP AND THEN PROCEEDED TO CHEER ON THE RUSSKIES!!
I mean FFS the series was tied 1-1-1 going into that game!
Thing was, Canadian fans expected Team Canada to win every single game (coach Sinden: “Anything less than an unblemished sweep of the Russians would bring shame down on the heads of the players and the national pride."). Thing was, folks didn’t understand that this was September and NHLers had been lying around drinking beer and eating potato chips for 6 months... and those damned Russkies skated almost year-round. Thing was, that Soviet team had been playing together for years - they didn’t need time to gel like our heroes.
Thing was, those bastards were liable to nuke our great nation any fucking day!
That last sentence can’t be emphasized enough, that’s EXACTLY how folks felt.
As Corny said in the OP, this was WAR, toe to toe with the commies.
The US had their Space Race and we had the Summit Series.
It was Democracy versus Communism.
In a democracy when an opposing player spears you, you offer to drop the gloves and he accepts.
Apparently in Communism, the gutless puke just skates away.
Make no mistake, the Soviets were kicking, slashing, spearing their dirty little asses off!
The Canadians were forced to change their game because the Russians were getting away with murder. It became dirty deed for dirty deed (although the Canadians didn’t resort to kicking). It’s amazing how revisionists paint a picture of Team Canada being the dirty team. Seriously folks it was just the opposite! Valeri Kharlamov was a great hockey player, but he was also one of the dirtiest players to ever lace em up. Bobby Clarke was considered a Canadian hero for decades after “The Slash”. Hell, say the phrase “The Slash” for decades after the Summit Series and no hardcore hockey fan even knew what the hell you were talking about! Revisionism.
In actuality “The Slash” was just one of literally hundreds of cheap shots, the worst of which perpetrated by players for the Evil Empire. The fact of the matter is Kharlamov’s ankle had been bothering him for months before the Series. He had hurt it at some previous tourney, I used to know where that was but it escapes me right now. Anyway he was missing plenty of games BEFORE the Summit Series. He finished Game 6 after “The Slash”, skipped Game 7, but was back for Game 8 (broke his ankle MY ASS!). 23-year-old Clarkie was retaliating as had become the norm in the Series. The refs were missing calls all over the ice (hey they even missed “The Slash”).
Anyway... they brought a half-dozen TVs to school so’s we could all watch the games played in Russia, THAT’S how huge this was to Canadians. “Da, da, Canada!! Nyet, nyet, Soviet!!”.
And I think Dad did the right thing, the booing woke Team Canada up.
Twas booing killed the beast.